Former Republican House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, was convicted on November 24, 2010 by a Texas court on two charges related to the illegal funneling of $190,000 in corporate donations to Republican candidates in Texas legislative races. The State of Texas has banned corporations from donating to candidates, either directly or indirectly, since 1903. Delay, who earned the knickname, ‘the Hammer’ for his style of leadership as Republican whip, faces sentences of two years to 20 years for conspiracy to commit money laundering and of five years to 99 years, or life in prison, for money laundering. The Judge has wide sentencing discretion and will hand down his sentence before Christmas Day, 2010.
A Texas grand jury indicted DeLay together with two political associates in November 2005, forcing the House’s second-ranking Republican, and its most assertive member, to step down from his leadership position. DeLay was the first House leader to be indicted while in office for over a century.
The indictment played a role in the 2006 unraveling of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives as a billowing cloud of political sleaze hovered over a GOP that had swept into power in 1994 with a mandate to clean up the corruption of the departing Democratic majority. Although DeLay repeatedly has denied wrong-doing throughout the past five years, few individuals apparently believe his protestations. Basically, he has been side-lined into political oblivion by those who formerly had experienced his dictatorial reign over House Republicans.
DeLay no doubt will appeal the judgment, even though he stands convicted by his own comments regarding the maneuvers that he pursued to secure a Republican majority in Texas that would then gerrymander districts in order to return more Texas Republicans to the U.S. Congress. It is unlikely at this stage that a jury verdict will be overturned by the appellate courts. No doubt he will receive a mere wrap on the wrist by the Judge, possibly even probation rather than jail time, as former celebrities in any walk of life take as their due reward.
In truth, the Texas court’s judgment is a good sign for this Republic. When leading politicians act as though they stand above the rule of law – as so many do – and when the courts defer to such individuals, there is no rule of law in the country. And without the rule of law, there is no true liberty for the individual. Serious jail-time for Tom DeLay would send a powerful and much-needed message to Congress. Subject yourself to the laws that are written for everyone else, or face the full consequences for criminal behavior!
Tom DeLay will have a ready-made occupation to keep him busy while behind bars. Prior to his election to the House of Representatives, Tom DeLay ran an extermination business. There are a multitude of roaches in Texas jails, or so I am led to believe. No doubt DeLay will control the roaches with the same authority that he controlled his colleagues in the House. Whether or not he will be allowed to wield a hammer, however, is more problematic.